With so much happening for Sporting Kansas City lately, it’s easy to lose track of their little brother, the Swope Park Rangers. The fourth year USL Championship squad has had a bizarre start to the season with two, two-week gaps between each game. The schedule really picks up today with their home game against Bethlehem Steel FC (Philadelphia Union) and doesn’t stop until mid July when there is an 11 day break between games.
Swope Adds U.S. Youth International
On Friday, the Swope Park Rangers announced the signing of United States Youth International goalkeeper John Pulskamp. He’s just 17-years-old and recently “spent two Development Academy seasons with the LA Galaxy Academy, making 23 appearances between their Under-17 and Under-19 sides.”
In 2018, Pulskamp went on trial for English Premier League side AFC Bournemouth but didn’t sign with the club. Before joining the Galaxy Academy he was with Real So Cal and Central California Aztecs, academies in California.
Pulskamp joins SKC Academy player and recent SPR signee Brooks Thompson and the below SKC Academy signing Max Trejo as the three goalkeepers on the roster. So far only Adrian Zendejas and Eric Dick have manned the net for SPR this season.
Excited to announce that I am making a return to the States and have officially signed a professional contract with the @sportingkansascity @swopeparkrangers organization Looking forward to my future with the club pic.twitter.com/C5yQWMg3aN— John Pulskamp (@john_pulskamp) April 5, 2019
SPR Adds Four Academy Players
On Thursday, the Rangers announced four other signings from the SKC Academy. They signed goalkeeper Max Trejo, defenders Dylan Hooper and Kaveh Rad, and midfielder Tucker Lepley to Academy contracts. That leaves them all as amateurs so they can still go to college. In the past, players like Felipe Hernandez and Wan Kuzain have started on Academy deals and moved to full contracts (or in the case of Kuzain all the way to Sporting KC).
Hooper is the youngest of the bunch at just 15-years-old. He is a native of Shawnee, Kansas and plays center back. He’s already 6’0” and 175 pounds at just 15.
Kaveh Rad (17) is the other defender and he played on an Academy contract in 2018. He never got on the field in a live game though. He, along with his twin brother Jahon, come through the fruitful North Carolina pipeline to SKC along with players like Gianluca Busio and Jaylin Lindsey. Interestingly, no word yet on if Jahon will sign in 2019 as he did in 2018.
Lepley (17) got time with Sporting KC during preseason, appearing as a defensive midfielder against FC Arizona. He also comes to the club through their connections in North Carolina.
The final addition is the above-mentioned Trejo. He’s just 16-years-old and is a lanky 6’1”, 155 pound keeper. He was born in Mexico and has dual citizenship in the U.S.
Bethlehem Steel FC Preview
The third game of the season takes place at 4:00 PM CT today with the live stream on ESPN+. Philadelphia Union’s b-team have played double the games of the Rangers going 1-2-1 and are in 11th place in the East. Swope Park are just 0-1-1 and are all the way down in 17th place but with two games in hand.
For a full preview of the game, head to the club’s official site. If you call your SKC ticket rep, I’ve heard you can get free or discounted tickets if you are an SKC season ticket member. Go support the Rangers. It’s a beautiful day outside!
Jaylin Lindsey’s Injury
We all saw the news on Jaylin Lindsey’s injury this week. It’s not only a blow to the depth of Sporting KC but to the first team lineup for Swope. He was the first choice right back on opening day and if not for his knee injury likely would have seen extensive minutes there for SPR all season. His injury allows former MLS player and New England Revolution draft pick Mark Segbers a shot to make an impression.
Here is Lindsey’s statement on his injury:
This is a setback that is looking to make it’s way to a major comeback . This past week has been tough, but i’m looking forward everyday to recover and getting back to full flow. Thanks to everyone for the kind messages ❤️⚽️ Looking foward to getting back on the pitch soon! https://t.co/7BBDePiAcZ— Jaylin Lindsey (@JaylinLindsey) April 2, 2019
Full Swope Park Rangers Roster
With all the new additions, the team is up to 23 players for the 2019 season, not including loans from the first team. The average birthday is now February 4, 1999. Meaning as of today that player is just 20 years, 2 months, and 2 days old. Suddenly I feel crushingly old.
SPR Roster - 4/6/19
|85||Felipe Hernandez||MID||6/8/1998||SKC Academy||1/6/2017|
|49||Will Little||MID/FB||4/9/1998||SKC Academy||1/6/2017|
|77||Camilo Benitez||Wing||8/16/1999||SKC Academy||2/9/2018|
|72||Justin Bilyeu||LB||2/3/1994||New York Red Bulls (MLS)||5/7/2018|
|96||Wilson Harris||CF||11/28/1999||SKC Academy||7/3/2018|
|95||Rassambek Akhmatov||MID||5/31/1996||FC Miami City (USL League Two)||8/3/2018|
|91||Ethan Vanacore-Decker||FWD||10/6/1994||North County United (USL League Two)||8/10/2018|
|98||Ayyoub Allach||MID||1/28/1998||Lierse SK (Belgium)||1/4/2019|
|39||Jerome Ngom Mbekeli||RW||9/30/1998||MFK Vyskov (Czech Republic)||1/4/2019|
|92||Alexsander Andrade||MID/LB||9/6/1998||Athletico Paranaense (Brazil)||1/31/2019|
|43||Mark Segbers||RB||4/18/1996||New England Revolution (MLS)||2/6/2019|
|53||Killian Colombie||LW||11/2/1995||Iona College (New York)||2/12/2019|
|44||Camden Riley||MID/DEF||8/20/1996||University of the Pacific (Cali)||2/20/2019|
|79||William Opoku Mensah||FWD||1/3/1996||Karela United (Ghana)||3/6/2019|
|31||Brooks Thompson||GK||6/13/2002||SKC Academy||3/7/2019|
|60||Mo Abualnadi*||CB||2/8/2001||SKC Academy||3/8/2019|
|64||Jake Davis*||MID||1/3/2002||SKC Academy||3/8/2019|
|80||Sean Karani*||FWD||12/14/2000||SKC Academy||3/8/2019|
|67||Max Trejo||GK||4/10/2002||SKC Academy||4/4/2019|
|50||Dylan Hooper||CB||11/13/2003||SKC Academy||4/4/2019|
|48||Kaveh Rad||DEF||6/13/2001||SKC Academy||4/4/2019|
|47||Tucker Lepley||MID||1/17/2002||SKC Academy||4/4/2019|
|45||John Pulskamp||GK||4/19/2001||LA Galaxy Academy||4/5/2019|